How to Start a Business That Helps the Planet

Author: Joyce Wilson

 Greenburgh Nature Center was established in 1973, when local residents voted to buy land with the purpose of protecting wildlife. Today, the Nature Center impacts over 85,000 community members annually, and are the first nature center to be a certified green business.

While the Nature Center is a nonprofit, you don’t have to be a charitable organization to help the environment. All types of businesses can be eco-friendly. Whether you want to start a local business or launch a green startup, you can do it while saving the planet. Here’s how!

How to launch a green business

How do you go from a great idea to a real business? Every entrepreneur takes certain steps when starting out.

  • Write a business plan. A business plan outlines your mission, strategy, customers, and competitors. A good business plan identifies opportunities and obstacles in your business idea.
  • Choose a business name that reflects your mission. Not sure where to start? Use a business name generator for ideas.
  • Choose a business structure. Will your business be a nonprofit, a corporation, or a small business? When you want to start a business in NY, this is one of the first steps. Most small businesses register as a limited liability company, or LLC. An accountant can help you choose the right business structure.
  • Apply for licenses, permits, and tax IDs. You may need licenses and permits from both state and federal government depending on the industry.

Eco-friendly business ideas

Nature lovers come from all walks of life. No matter your interests, there’s an eco-friendly business idea you’ll love.

  • Are you passionate about food? Start a farm-to-table restaurant or food truck, an organic food company, or a custom gardening service.
  • Green retail businesses include secondhand shops, zero-waste markets, eco-friendly clothing stores, and nontoxic hair salons. Or, provide sustainable services like eco-friendly event planning, landscape design, green cleaning, composting, or construction. The possibilities are endless!
  • Some eco-entrepreneurs become consultants. Environmental consultants advise businesses and individuals on things like sustainability, pollution, waste management, and green building design.

5 more ways businesses can go green

You don’t have to be an eco-friendly business to go green. All types of businesses can help the environment with the right practices.

  • Remember to reduce, reuse, and recycle. This rule applies to everything from paper to office supplies, food waste, packaging, and more.
  • Reduce energy consumption with programmable thermostats and energy-efficient light bulbs and business equipment.
  • Use non-toxic cleaning products. Many cleaning products create air pollution. Green cleaning products are safer for people and the planet.
  • Support other green businesses. By choosing eco-friendly suppliers, you make an even bigger impact on the environment.
  • Buy carbon offsets. Carbon offsets make up for the carbon emissions that businesses can’t avoid.

Starting a business is a great way to follow your dreams and strengthen the local economy. And now, you understand how small businesses can help the environment too! No matter what type of business you start, make going green part of your company’s mission.